Author(s): Heather Rossiter
Tasmanian-born Charles Turnbull Harrisson (1867-1914) was one of the members of Douglas Mawson's legendary Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14. Harrisson joined the expedition as a biologist and artist, a part of the Western Party based on Queen Mary Land and led by Frank Wild. He was also a gifted writer and the diary he kept from December 1911 to March 1913 has been transcribed and edited by Heather Rossiter, and reproduced for the first time. Harrisson's engaging narrative is complemented by his sketches and watercolour paintings of the landscape, as well as photographs of the men in the Western Base party. By bringing Harrisson's diary from obscure history to published volume, complete with his own sketches and watercolour paintings, "The 1911-1913 Antarctic Diary of Charles Turnbull Harrisson" honours the daring spirit of these lesser known but equally audacious Antarctic explorers. Western Base group's story that has never been told in a stand-alone publication, making this a vital, original contribution to Antarctic literature. 2011 marks the 100-year anniversary of the departure of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition and many events and exhibitions that are planned. Charles Turnbull Harrisson's sketches and paintings used in conjunction with photographs to add an evocative layer to the book, showing the Antarctic landscape as well as the daily life of the Western Base group.
Research scientist in the US and UK, teacher and vine-grower in Australia, Heather Rossiter's articles, book reviews and travel pieces have appeared in Australian and international publications. She was research consultant to the documentary, Mawson: Life and Death in Antarctica, screened on ABC and BBC TV in 2007 and her book Lady Spy, Gentleman Explorer: The Life of Herbert Dyce Murphy was short listed for the ISAA Book Award 2002. A passionate traveller, particularly to Russia and the Middle East to study archaeological sites and the arts of Islam, Heather lives in Sydney.